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Study: Online holiday shoppers getting mobile

BY Dan Berthiaume

AUSTIN, Texas — It’s no secret that e-commerce is continuing to grow as a portion of holiday shopping volume. But a newer trend shows that holiday e-commerce growth is shifting away from the desktop channel.
 
According to a new survey from digital promotion platform RetailMeNot, mobile app visits and transactions closed on desktop visits and transactions during the 2014 holiday season. If the trend keeps pace in 2015, mobile visits and transactions will surpass desktop visits and transactions as a holiday e-commerce channel.
 
However, nine in 10 holiday purchases are still made in-store. Consumers are especially likely to browse apparel, home and garden, and multi-category items on a mobile device while in-store.
 
“As the majority of consumers roam the mall and shop from their couch armed with smartphones, RetailMeNot’s research also shows that retailers who invest in these digital channels will build their brands, better engage shoppers, and improve sales conversions in those mobile moments,” said Michael Jones, senior VP, retail and brand solutions, RetailMeNot.
 
Evidence from a number a sources points toward this year’s holiday season being more mobile than ever before. The 2015 Holiday Shopping Survey from Pitney Bowes shows that 49% of consumers plan to do holiday shopping with a mobile device, and data from The Rubicon Project shows a much smaller but still significant 25% of all consumers planning to make it a mobile holiday. 
 
One of the least optimistic recent studies on mobile holiday commerce, a report from Bronto Software, still shows 19% of consumers planning to use a tablet and 22% intending to use a smartphone to make purchases this holiday season.
 
Furthermore, a recent study from OneStop Marketing indicates 45% of online traffic during the 2014 holiday season came from mobile but only 20% of sales came from mobile devices, indicating a substantial opportunity to increase mobile conversion rates.
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Beauty, beacon technology among highlights at this year’s GMDC HBW

BY Michael Johnsen

PHOENIX — There are a number of reasons to be excited about the Global Market Development Center 2015 Health Beauty Wellness conference, not the least of which is a new beauty immersion session designed to help recapture that beauty shopper.

“These beauty immersions are exclusive and new formats for us. They’re pilots,” explained Mark Mechelse, director research, consumer insights and communications at GMDC. GMDC is helping retailers reignite interest within the beauty and personal care categories as a destination. “We’ve been working hand-in-hand with Nielsen to develop some insights,” Mechelse added. “Here’s an opportunity not only to create a more immersive experience for your customers, but also an opportunity to start stealing wallet share from Amazon, especially when millennials start walking through that door.”
 
According to market research from Lucintel, “rising consumer incomes and changing lifestyles are driving the global beauty care products industry, which is forecasted to reach around $265 billion by 2017.”

Another unique opportunity at the conference: GMDC’s focus on showcasing beacon technology that will truly create in-store experiential differentiation for the shopper. “This is new technology that has recently been funded by private equity in order to go to market,” Mechelse reported. “This is an exclusive venue within GMDC — no other trade association is introducing technology like this to the retail industry like we are.”

BKON Connect will be on hand at GMDC HBW to demonstrate how beacon technology can truly transform the shopper experience.

In addition to the beauty immersion and beacon technology displays, this year’s conference will delve into ways food and drug retailers can best promote beauty aisles and navigate sales in the face of a growing industry where the consumer is commanding change. In addition, the conference addresses opportunities for retailers to rethink their approach to over-the-counter healthcare products and the expanding role of in-store pharmacies — and how retailers can help transform customers from curious, to interested, to committed buyers of wellness products, and raise their store’s potential to ring up more wellness-first and price-secondary sales.

“GMDC’s HBW conference is more relevant than ever before because retailers and suppliers can meet in real-time, have face-to-face conversations about these changes affecting the marketplace, and develop strategies that challenge how they’re thinking about health, beauty and wellness,” stated Patrick Spear, GMDC president and CEO.

During the conference business session slated for Oct. 3, Johnson & Johnson Consumer and Wakefern will provide insights into the impact of healthcare legislation and how the shift toward more over-the-counter product sales is enabling manufacturers and retailers to view “patients” and “consumers” on the same continuum. “Next-practices” will be the focus, and strategies will be revealed about how stores can redesign their merchandising toward “how the shopper shops,” which can build a significant lift in sales. “They’ll be doing a deep dive into the diabetes category and how Johnson & Johnson is helping Wakefern engage that diabetic,” Mechelse added.

One other addition to the conference this year is the Preview Box, a unique pre-conference program where suppliers can place selected products into the hands of every wholesaler and retailer attending the conference, offering them the opportunity to touch, see and use their new or best-selling products or innovative packaging prior to the conference. A sample of the Preview Box program also is placed outside the entrance of the showcase at GMDC HBW for attendees to see how this marketing tool is delivered to each retailer executive.

To follow all of DSN’s coverage of GMDC HBW 2015, click here.

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Walmart cuts jobs at HQ

BY Mike Troy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The importance of expense control at Walmart became evident on Friday when the retailer confirmed it planned to eliminate 450 positions as part of a broader restructuring effort.

The long-rumored cuts were detailed in an internal memo with the subject line “a company positioned for the future,” that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., President and CEO Doug McMillon distributed to the company’s home office employees on Friday, Oct. 2. Approximately 18,000 employees work at Walmart’s complex of buildings in Bentonville and neighboring Rogers, Ark., so the elimination of 450 positions represents a 2.5% reduction in force. 

McMillon said the decision “impacts people we care about,” but noted that the structure changes that will make the company a more nimble organization that serves customers better.

“Our customers are changing, retail is changing and we must change. We need to become a more agile company that can easily adapt to shifting customer demand. After months of evaluation, we’ve concluded there is an opportunity to better position our home office teams to move with speed and purpose,” according to McMillon. “This is an important time in our history – requiring all of us to think critically about our business and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. For the company, this in part means pulling back in some areas and investing in others.”

Additional details on areas of investment and reduction were not immediately available.

While the elimination of 450 positions is sizable, Walmart took more extreme measures in early 2009 at the beginning of the Great Recession when it eliminated 800 positions. The company also eliminated 300 positions in 2010

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